Easter blessings from UCAN
There is no more important week in the year for Christians than this Holy Week. We call it Holy because of the mystery we celebrate - God's gift of His son who loves us to his death on Calvary and beyond.
Because of that love, we wish each other Happy Easter even when we know there is a lot of tragedy about it - Good Friday. As Christians, we know that what we see happening with and in Jesus goes to the heart of what we know from our own experience of life.
At the Second Vatican Council, the Christian lives we all lead were described as being shares in the Paschal Mystery. We have our share in the death and resurrection of Jesus every day. Our lives are part of the Paschal Mystery.
At UCAN, we work to describe that mystery in the unfolding tragedies and astonishing blessings of the people we seek out and report, feature and comment on.
While at times deeply distressing work, this effort of ours gets its coherence in the same way the death of Jesus did - because of the astonishing grace of a God who never gives up on life and love.
Because of that, we can wish you Happy Easter.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
Christian activist's mother sets herself ablaze
Self-immolation was in protest against daughter's imprisonmentDang Thi Kim Lieng (third from left) was worried about her daughter's forthcoming trial
- Asia Desk, Bangkok
- July 31, 2012
Dang Thi Kim Lieng set herself alight near a local government office building in the southern city of Bac Lieu yesterday morning.
â€śHer wounds were very serious and she died on the way to the hospital [in Ho Chi Minh City]," said Redemptorist Father Dinh Huu Thoai, a priest close to the family.
Her daughter, Marie Ta Phong Tan, is being held at a jail in the city.
The 43-year-old Catholic former policewoman was one of three bloggers arrested last year. All are due to go on trial next week.
Lieng had not seen her daughter since her arrest last September.Â Local Church sources said she had been very worried about her daughterâ€™s trial.
She too had been questioned and followed everywhere she went and her home was being watched by authorities 24 hours a day, the sources said.
Liengâ€™s death, the first reported self-immolation in Vietnam since the 1970s, came a day after the Vietnamese Redemptorist News networkÂ called for the release of 17 Christians, including Tan, some of whom have been held without trial since last July.
In a statement on Sunday, the network said most of the detained had contributed to its blog www.chuacuuthe.com. It claimed theyÂ were not arrested in accordance with due process under Vietnamese law or according to international conventions signed by Vietnam.
â€śTheir ongoing detention in silence indicates a serious violation against the spirit of the call to construct a state of jurisdiction,â€ť the statement said. ItÂ denied that the bloggers were spreading anti-government propaganda, saying they were â€śall righteous people.
â€śThey were simply concerned for the fate of our country, attended courses on communications and blogged to bring justice and truth to people. They served the public through social and charitable work,â€ť the VRN statement concluded. It was signed by Father Anthony Le Ngoc Thanh, head of the network, and Father Joseph Dinh Huu Thoai, head of the Vietnam Provincial Office.
Court sentences four Catholic students